The women in the dress were touched without consent 157 times in less than three hours.
If you’re a woman, in some ways this might be the least surprising story you’ll see all day. But it’s still an important one that confirms some of the worst behavior patterns women around the world face when participating in activities most men can safely take for granted.
In Brazil, the advertising agency Ogilvy tested out a dress that used electronic receptors to measure the number of times men touched women wearing the dresses were touched by men without consent. Not only that, but it also measured the physical pressure the men exerted to help counter any accusations that the touches were harmless unintentional encounters.
Even in a world where we assume sexual harassment and assault happen on a daily basis, the results were shocking.
The “Dress for Respect” project was specifically designed to help educate men on how an issue many of us don’t take seriously enough -- is painfully real.
In less than three hours, the three women wearing the dresses were touched without their consent a combined 157 times.
The results were limited to a nightclub in Brazil, a country where 86 percent of women surveyed say they have experienced sexual harassment or assault while attending nightclubs.
But the statistics in the United States and beyond are comparable. A recent study found that 81 percent of American women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lives -- numbers that go beyond nightclubs to include every facet of American life, including where 20 percent of all adults say they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. In fact, RAINN says that every 98 seconds an American -- a real, living, vulnerable human being -- is sexually assaulted. Rape culture and harassment are still incredibly prevalent even in the age of #MeToo.
Making a lasting and measurable change takes vigilance. The “Dress for Respect” project is sure to get a lot of attention, and deservedly so. Sometimes it takes a gimmick to help people, especially men, realize the gravity of the problem we collectively face. But the upside is that once we are faced with reality, even a painful one, many people can be convinced to do something about it.